I visited the second of my prospective probation churches today. A little bit further afield but perfectly do-able from my home. This one was very different from the first. More traditional but nevertheless keeping up with the times in many ways. Again it had a good age profile and everyone was very friendly. I felt I could easily fit in with the place and not feel that the 15 months of probation would be a burden. In many respects it comes across as your ‘typical’ parish church (and I say that in the awareness that every congregation is different, but often you will find that they are addressing the same needs, have similar organisations and so on). Its socio-economic profile is maybe a little more educated and affluent, but I’d hesitate to make that call just yet.
Of the two visited so far, this would be my preference. But then if my assessment is correct and it is a ‘typical’ parish church then it may make more sense to choose the other, more local, ‘typical’ parish church on my list. I guess I’ll need to wait and see. I may well make that one next week’s visit so that the two are relatively fresh in my mind and more easily compared. That just leave my wild-card outsider as my fourth visit. I still feel a tug towards it despite my ignorance of it and I’m wondering if I should have gone there first to see if the others then ‘measured up’. By the same token, if, when I go, I just don’t get that sense of ‘rightness’, then I’ll know that there was something in one of the others that I need to go back and find then pray over.
At least it keeps me out of mischief on Sunday mornings.